Yo Yo Ma.
What do these people have in common?
At one point or another in their life, each of these accomplished individuals attended a Montessori School.
Montessori seems rather unconventional when placed against the backdrop of the American school system, but it’s actually quite a bit older and has a lot more field testing.
Montessori is more of a lifestyle than it is simply a system. It insists on considering the security, innocent spirituality, and cognitive health of a child before anything else. Montessori schools cultivate a child’s natural curiosity so that they will paint a picture because they need to express themselves, not because a teacher told them to do so. They study advanced algebra and computer coding because want to understand the modern world, not because they are trying to pass a class.
The method bears the name of the founder, Maria Montessori, who began teaching children with mental disabilities in her native Italy. She was a physician by trade, but was enamored with education. This combination led her to begin trying to help children in her society that were often overlooked for education.
She began her method under the hypothesis that children are natural learners and only require encouragement, occasional direction, freedom, and empowerment to learn. As she progressed with her early students she meticulously recorded what worked and what didn’t using a scientific method. She was constantly perfecting her hypothesis using scientific and factual observations.
The results: the children with supposed developmental impairments made intellectual gains the likes of which no one had ever seen before.
This early success gave her a notoriety which amplified her studies. She perfected the method opening her pioneering Casa dei Bambini (House of the Children) in a poor, inner-city district of Rome.
Once again, unexpected success. Hundreds of unruly and problematic children were transformed into avid independent self-learners. The results were truly astounding.
Today, her method persists all over the world. Its continued success is evident by the list of former students above.
Heatherly Snider, who has been teaching Montessori in various settings for over 15 years notes,
“The benefit of Montessori is teaching self control, and in today’s world that is very lacking…Montessori helps a child learn control emotionally but also in his or her motor skills and technical knowledge. And, it’s taught in a safe environment which allows the child to think clearly, properly, and in order instead of while trying to manage chaos. This is very important for a child’s cognitive development.
In order to appreciate Montessori, you have to consider other school settings. When you walk into many classrooms you notice disorder, chaos, and anxiety. But when you walk into a Montessori classroom you see toddlers throwing away their trash and pushing in their chairs. The teachers are able to keep a gentle demeanor and use a loving tone. This means that a child will feel secure for the rest of his or her intellectual maturity. This makes them independent and free thinking.
What it comes down to, is that a person can’t function—especially for long—in a chaotic environment. The method gives a child order and security to develop strong life skills.”
Because Montessori is so dependent on environment, clean ascetics, and teaching with items and materials that appear naturally (as opposed to plastic toys mimicking other things) it was a no brainer for BabeNatural: we had to incorporate the method into our inventory.
Often, many of the education pieces associated with Montessori learning are marked up and even prohibitively expensive. But we’ve worked hard (and been lucky) to find Montessori products that we could sell at a fraction of the cost. Because this embodies the spirit of Maria Montessori, cultivating the natural curiosity of children—especially those who otherwise would never have access to good education.
So browse our children’s toy collection, read up on how to incorporate our different products into a child’s intellectual development, and learn how Montessori can help cultivate your little one’s cognition, confidence, and curiosity.
Until next time,
P.S. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for a BIG announcement coming soon!! And leave us a comment below to tell us about your Montessori Experiences!